Some choreography to flip for at Spectrum showcase
Fifteen short pieces -- most of them premieres -- made the 22nd edition of the intermittent showcase “Spectrum: Dance in L.A.” typically exciting, deadly, fresh, stale, cutting-edge and old hat Sunday at the Barnsdall Art Park Gallery Theatre.
As invariably in his Spectrum appearances, Bubba Carr took dance deeply into the soul, this time exploring liquid undulations intercut with sudden convulsive tremors in the intuitive solo “Now Here, Not There” and somehow revealing bedrock states of feeling. And in the evening’s other standout piece, Rebecca Levy and Eryn Schon understood formal structure, human relationships and male energy well enough to make “Willingly Disposed” an intriguing character study as well as a powerful vehicle for Efka Kvaracieyus and Brendan Mar.
Their duet was one of several Spectrum choreographies that combined flamboyant gymnastics with surging modern or jazz dance -- components juxtaposed with ultimate flash in Jacob “Kujo” Lyons’ large-scale showpiece “Navaras,” in which the women provided the choreographic flow and the men the explosive flips and vaults.
Sharon Jakubecy integrated gymnastics with more subtlety in “Dissolve,” a plotless group piece emphasizing symmetry and meticulous coordination. The collaborative rock quartet “Salvage” for CoLab Dance shattered these formal values, embracing quasi-competitive, body-lashing anarchy to great effect.
And Seda Aybay went her own way, focusing her artful quartet “Veda” on partnering: As each couple danced, you seemed to be watching a summary of a complex relationship swiftly, lightly impressed upon your consciousness.
Offering technical proficiency but not much else: Ellen Rosa’s"Last Call,” Ruby Karen’s “Danson y Aries Tango” for Tiffany Reid (both of them solos on pointe) and John Castagna’s “Sweet Revenge” (a ballet trio on half-toe). Mecca Vazie Andrews looked glorious in her eccentric duet “Astrolabe” with Holly Hamilton, but the piece ultimately went nowhere. And exactly what Paula Present wanted to achieve or display in her curious “Dichotomize” solo with a long wooden pole will remain one of life’s mysteries.
Spectrum director Deborah Brockus had a busy night, dancing in Ken Morris’ “Next Phase,” a promising modern dance study of four women bedeviled by a lone male, and then presenting her own Spectrum within a Spectrum: “Retrospective,” a compilation of her choreography from 1991 to 2006. This seven-part suite showed her adept at pop dance (especially the sweet fervor of “Ain’t No Sunshine”) but far more original when tackling difficult music than when settling for predictable jazz-dance formats.
Relentlessly perky and hard-sell, Michael Menna’s “Jungle Boogie” and Maura Townsend’s “Heat Wave” completed the program.